Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Tag: history

750: The Louvre


750: Laclotte, Michel and Jean-Pierre Cuzin. The Louvre: Paintings. Paris, France: Editions Scala, 2000. 284 pp. ISBN 2-86656-236-4.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 700: Fine Arts and Recreation
  • 750: Painting and paintings

On August 10, 1793, a wondrous building was made open to the public. Exactly one year before, Louis XVI was imprisoned and the monarchy felled. The National Assembly urged that the works of art hoarded by Louis and previous kings be collected and displayed so that they could preserve the national memory. At it’s opening, The Louvre showcased 537 paintings and 184 other objects of art. From there started an interesting and sometimes sordid history. Michel Laclotte and Jean-Pierre Cuzin’s The Louvre gives a history of each of the museum’s major collection, but more importantly, displays a wide variety of the museum’s pieces in glorious color plates.

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383: Orphans Preferred by Christopher Corbett


383.1430973: Corbett, Christopher. Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express. New York: Broadway Books, 2003. 255 pp. ISBN 0-7679-0692-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 300: Social Sciences
  • 380: Commerce, communications, and transportation
  • 383: Postal communication
  • 383.1 Mail handling
  • 383.14: Transportation systems, collection, and delivery
  • 383.143: Overland mail
  • +0973: United States

We know this much is true: In 1860, the business trio of Russell, Majors, & Waddell set about to revolutionize overland mail delivery in the United States. Backed by a congressional blessing (but not by congressional money), they sought to deliver mail to the citizens of California faster than ever before. Normally, mail took anywhere from one to six months to go from the East Coast to the West Coast, but the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company strove to cut that down to ten days. From the moment the first rider struck from St. Joseph, Missouri, the Pony Express became steep in folklore and American myth. Christopher Corbett’s Orphans Preferred tries to wrangle truth from the mouth of history to get to the most accurate picture of the Express he can.

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982: A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century by Luis Alberto Romero


982.06: Romero, Luis Alberto. A History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century. Translated by James P. Brennan. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002. 349 pp. ISBN 0-271-02192-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 980: History of South America
  • 982: History of Argentina
  • 982.06: Period of later republic, 1861 to present

In his History of Argentina in the Twentieth Century, Luis Romero tries to write a different kind of history. He has “attempted to reconstruct the history—complex, contradictory, and unique—of a society that unquestionably has experienced better moment and that finds itself currently at one of the lowest points in its history but whose future is not, I trust, definitively sealed.” This is remarkable for two reasons. First, he is not out to champion is country, and second, he owns up to the fact that history is sometimes contradictory and unfun.

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679: The Good Cigar by Jeffers and Gordon


679.72: Jeffers, H. Paul & Kevin Gordon. The Good Cigar: A Celebration of the Art of Cigar Smoking. New York: Broadway, 1997. 193 pp. ISBN 0-7679-0036-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 670: Manufacturing
  • 679: Other products of specific kinds of materials
  • 679.7: Products of tobacco
  • 679.72: Cigars

The cigar is almost as old as Columbus’s landing in the Americas. Indigenous peoples would smoke the dried leaves of the tobacco plant in clay pipes and every European explorer to reach the Americas brought some back with them. Modern cigars have been around since the early 19th century and come in many different varieties, shapes, and qualities. H. Paul Jeffers’s and Kevin Gordon’s The Good Cigar is an ode to the cigar aficionado that explores the history, manufacture, and personalities surrounding the classic cigar.

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130: Occult America by Mitch Horowitz


130: Horowitz, Mitch. Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation. New York: Bantam, 2010. 258 pp. ISBN 978-0-553-38515-1.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 130: Parapsychology and occultism

In 1774, Mother Ann Lee emigrated from England to New York and started a small but important movement in America: the Shakers. Their belief in a more mystical Christian God led to accusations of heresy from mainline believers. From this small band of radical believers sprang pockets on mysticism throughout America over the last 250 years. Mitch Horowitz’s Occult America takes a slightly off-center look at American history through the lens of those who believed, prayed, practiced, and lived a little differently from the rest of us.

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939: The Road to Ubar by Nicholas Clapp


939.49: Clapp, Nicholas. The Road to Ubar: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands. Boston: Mariner, 1999. 274 pp. ISBN 0-395-95786-9.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 900: History and Geography
  • 930: History of the ancient world
  • 939: History of other parts of the ancient world
  • 939.4: History of the Middle East to 640 CE
  • 939.49: History of the Arabian Peninsula to 622 CE

The ancient city of Ubar is clouded in myth. It controlled the frankincense trade for the Arabian Peninsula and became quite a wealthy oasis. Then, as told in the Koran, it was smote from the Earth for favoring wealth over worship. The city of Ubar was gone forever. Nicholas Clapp’s The Road to Ubar weaves together history, archaeology, technology, and even a little luck to rediscover the history of the Arabian Peninsula. With the help of an archaeologist, a geologist, and a real-life adventurer, he travels through the vast Arabian Desert to take back what the desert hid for so long.

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687: Jeans by James Sullivan


687.1: Sullivan, James. Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon. New York: Gotham Books, 2006. 265 pp. ISBN 1-592-40214-3.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 680: Manufacture of products for specific uses
  • 687: Clothing and accessories
  • 687.1: Specific kinds of garments

Despite how advertisers keep treating as a new and exciting clothing, jeans, and the denim they are made from, have been around for hundreds of years. Blue jeans are named after their place of first import, Genoa, Italy, and denim comes from the material serge de Nimes, a cotton blend from Nimes, France. Materials for jeans arrived in the America almost right after the Pilgrims did. Denim jeans have been part of the social and manufacturing landscape for so long that they seem almost ineffable. James Sullivan’s Jeans, however, goes a little deeper into the history of jeans to find a chronicle of rebellion and globalization.

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